So, there’s some time travel involved in this episode’s plot, and I noticed that the Gul Dukat that appears in the past looked a little different. Maybe it was just me, but there’s a part of me that somewhat hopes that the producers opted to change up his make-up in subtle ways to show what a younger Cardassian would look like.
I probably could have looked that up, but I wasn’t that interested and would rather just let my initial assumption give the series some credit for detail it might not have done otherwise.
On what would have been her mother’s 60th birthday, Kira gets an unwanted call from Gul Dukat. To be fair, Kira would never want a call from Gul Dukat, but Dukat has always taken some sort of interest in Kira. I might have chalked it up to Dukat’s, shall we say, preference for Bajoran women, but given where this episode goes, I think it is safe to say it’s not quite that.
No, Dukat opts to tell Kira now that, before her mother died, she and Dukat had been lovers.
Now, Kira’s hardcore resistance membership has, in the past, shown that she may not have always been the best daughter considering how her father died. Her feelings over her parents are probably clouded a bit by her memories and her once more black-and-white worldview. Her mother died when she was three or so, and whatever Kira knows about Kira Meru is only things her father told her. There’s even a bit here where she deliberately bought some flowers in honor of her late mother, but she personally doesn’t care much for them. They were her mom’s favorite, and I think it says a lot about their relationship right there that Kira and her mother were very different people without even going too far back.
As it is, there’s always an Orb of the Prophets that Kira can use to do a little time travel, see her parents, and as long as she doesn’t interfere with what happened, get the answers she wants to see if Dukat was right or not.
Man, time travel is pretty darn convenient for the Bajorans from the looks of things.
Regardless, Kira goes back in time, and she does see her parents taking care of a very young version of herself and whatever other brothers and sisters she has. She doesn’t get too far past a basic introduction when the Cardassians show up to round up whatever attractive women they can find to act as…comfort women to various lonely Cardassian men.
Yes, the episode uses that phrase. The people who made this episode don’t want the home viewer to have any illusions about what’s coming, and though Meru tries to point out she’s a married woman with some young children, about all that she’s told before she’s taken away is her family will be taken care of. And yes, both Kira and her mother are selected and taken away, off to Terok Nor, a good way for the series to use pre-existing sets. And yes, Meru catches Dukat’s eye.
So, did Meru become Dukat’s lover? Yeah, she did. Dukat wasn’t lying.
Of course, Kira is still Kira, and it doesn’t take much for her to slap back into Resistance Mode. Her general disobedience means she’s put into the part of the station where all the slave labor is happening. That black-and-white worldview comes back, especially as her mother seems to actually like Dukat. She’s not supposed to interfere with the past, but old habits die hard, and maybe Kira can take out Dukat and her collaborator mother by working with the resistance fighters amongst the slaves. Meru doesn’t seem interested. Far from it. Will Kira blow her mom to bits to take out Dukat?
Look, this is Deep Space Nine. Whatever route another Trek might take, it won’t take that. There’s going to be more going on here where a different Trek would offer a simpler solution. It’s not that other Trek shows wouldn’t have morally complex situations. It’s more like other series might not have morally complex characters. There’s a difference. Besides, Kira can’t kill Dukat in the past. That sort of thing would only cause problems for future episodes when she goes back and finds out that some guy whose been causing at the least headaches for everyone involved no longer exists.
What changes her mind, though, isn’t a speech from her mother. That’s the sort of thing that a lesser series might have done. It’s done through Kira’s finding a recorded message from her father, basically thanking Meru for all that she was doing to ensure the rest of the family actually got food and medicine, noting in particular that young Kira was finally putting some much-needed weight on. Meru’s side isn’t given (that may be problematic in other ways since it doesn’t give her a voice), but it does show that, well, she still loves her husband and is playing along to protect her family. She’s just good enough to fool Dukat.
And, for that matter, Kira at first glance. It’s enough to get Kira to get both Meru and Dukat away from a bomb Kira had set earlier.
So, how should Kira feel about all this? Well, it’s not easy. On the one hand, her mother was a somewhat willing comfort woman to one of the series’s biggest villains. On the other, she did it to help her family. That’s not a black-and-white situation.
That’s the sort of thing Deep Space Nine does pretty well.